Matchday 2 Review: Semak’s latest record, Despotovic leads the way, Panyukov’s relief

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We have rounded up the most intriguing statistics and points from matchday two of the Russian Premier Liga.

1 - The relief was palpable on Andrey Panyukov’s face as he cooly sent Ivan Miladinovic sliding the wrong way to slot home a natural finish in Ural’s 1-1 draw with Nizhny Novgorod. This was his first RPL goal since September 2020. In fact, he has only managed to score three goals in his last 36 league games since the beginning of 2020.

3 - Zenit were in ominous form as they hit four goals in their win away to Rostov, and predictably Sardar Azmoun and Aleksandr Erokhin were again amongst the goals. In fact, both players have scored in all three Zenit games so far this season (including the Russian Super Cup), leaving them with a combined tally of seven goals already.

6 - Not content with producing the most prolific league campaign of his career last season with 12 league goals, Christian Noboa has been on a mission to set up his teammates too; his touch led to Marko Dugandzic’s winner, and became his sixth assist in 2021.This makes him the joint-highest assist provider in the RPL this calendar year alongside Rifat Zhemaletdinov.

7 - Rubin Kazan have not broken stride since storming into fourth place last season with two wins from their opening two RPL matches. Arsenal Tula were the victims this time, against whom Leonid Slutsky has a flawless 100% record as a manager. He has faced them seven times (three with CSKA, and four with Rubin), and won every time - something he has achieved against no other current top-flight side.

15 - Aleksandr Sobolev scored Spartak’s winner from the penalty spot against his old side krylia Sovetov Samara at the weekend to continue his remarkable form; since last November, he has been directly involved in 15 goals in 13 RPL appearances (12 goals and three asists). Only Zenit’s Artem Dzyuba has registered more involvements in that time (14 goals and three assists).

16 - Sergey Pinyaev has already been active in professional football for a year, but this weekend he came off the bench to make his top-flight debut still at the tender age of 16 years and 270 days old. He becomes the fourth-youngest player to make an RPL appearance after ex-Spartak’s Aleksey Rebko (16 years 2 months 17 days), Rostov’s Maksim Stavtsev (16 years 4 months 21 days) and CSKA’s Sergey Revyakin (16 years 7 months 25 days).

37 - Valery Karpin has now departed Rostov, having been the longest-serving manager in the RPL. Sadly he wasn’t able to end on a high note as his side lost 4-2 to Zenit St. Petersburg, and the result left him with a perfectly symmetrical record of 37 wins, 27 draws and 37 defeats - a win rate of 37%.

41 - Djordje Despotovic’s status as Rubin’s talisman is hard to dispute. The Serbian striker notched again from the penalty spot having already set up In-beom Hwang to finish a delightful team move, to move him on to 15 goals and four assists since the start of last season. His total of 19 direct goal involvements represents 41% of the team’s total (19/46), the highest ratio in the league for an individual player’s share of the team’s goals.

131 - Sergey Semak has hardly put a foot wrong domestically since taking over as Zenit head coach in 2018. In that time he has picked up three Russian Premier Liga trophies, two Russian Super Cups and the Russian Cup. He has now also broken another record; by masterminding the champions’ emphatic win over Rostov, he became the quickest manager in Zenit history to record 80 wins, achieving the feat in just 131 matches. 

Photo: Dzhalil Gubaydullin / Rubin Kazan; Anna Shaymardanova / Krylia Sovetov Samara


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